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Plums, Nectarines, & Apricots
49 Posts
April 28, 2019 - 4:26 pm

Anyone have any experience w/ planting any of the above? Thinking of adding some to the orchard (VA mountains Zone 6b) but don't know much about any of them. If you've planted any, what kind did you plant & any tips you can give?

1400 Posts
April 29, 2019 - 4:15 am

Not many (if any) HOS members over east Wink  But there's me, in SW VA ~

Plumbs; Oriental or European?  4th year, 4th killing freeze for my Oriental Plum.  Researched European ‘prunes’ for over here ..and must have been turned off by something as I didn’t plant any...

Nectarines; too much like peaches, and weaker.  The neighbors who totally neglect their peach trees (actually tree, they cut one down) have no idea what variety they are/ were. But they produced good peaches.

Kept my eye on the potted peach varieties at a local nursery last year, assuming - with no care, I’d try the variety that still looked in decent shape foliage wise.  None did, the humidity, wind (two hurricanes) and nursery neglect left them all looking miserable. So I’m going without peaches … neighbors having said I could have all I want of theirs..  

Apricots;  I know of none in my area.  Had tried them in Oregon, and the damp (soaking cold Springs) did them in.  Over ‘here,’ don’t know ..but feel too old to waste years finding out. I believe they bloom early, which also leaves them susceptible to late killing freezes.  

My experimental days feel over - I want production.  Good questions, though. I have found no fruit groups over here, as there are in CA, OR and WA.  Which has led me to believe fruit growing in general is pretty dismal in the Eastern US. The summer rain, thus high humidity is definitely a killer.  I'm planting a replacement persimmon, and considering some Hardy Kiwi … perhaps a pawpaw or two ..if I stumble upon any reasonably priced grafted varieties, but will have to be content with 'the basics.'  Looking forward to my Concord grapes, though - they thrive Laugh

Vancouver SW Washington
686 Posts
April 29, 2019 - 9:31 am

I read Viron's post a while back already and decided that one of the more newly developed plums that exceeded my expectations worth mentioning here is 'Owen T'. Which I got from the breeding station in Parlier CA 6-7 years ago. It just might be the one of the early blooming kinds that work there. It sets fruit all by itself and the fruits are half a pound. So the one tree investment and risk of any one kind of these, this might be it. I don't thin and it's able to size these incredible crops, though only every other year.

So Viron, as you have heard me list out on other topics before the inherent variations in all plants, Michael Pollan, etc. Well to add to his view and my own mounting evidence; Well I just returned from Edmonton. They can only grow smaller plums and apples. A few of those more educated in the sciences that are attending those northern versions of our scion swaps do have a few largely developed apples, so there are those few highly bred. So what's new is that people like the one recently retired from these breeding sciences that differ are some findings that seeds have been planted from markets of the jonagolds type of apples. The one case is proven that somebody planted a seedling apple which took 27 years to make the first flowers and fruit in 2018. The apples were large store sized apples that tasted similar to 'ambrosia'. 

Previous to that his other retired friend in Edmonton was also at the same meetings all the time had promoted the 'Evans' pie cherry from an Edmonton seedling that has histories going back the about 1930. Which starting in the 1990s made great profits to those that sold a simple seed discovery from the middle of a cereal province which to this date none have produced so ample as the evans. Later on the evans had in fact (personal conversations with the founder) started in Alberta by seed.

The notion here is that there can be another way of developing fruit to new sites other than selective breeding. It just takes as long as 27 years sometimes. While it's still cold out I'm going to the library to add a link to this post and PM both you my email progress report to the establishers of Owen T plum on my property as I think you could try the seeds and even "maybe" the mother plant is worth a shot going after too.

Vancouver SW Washington
686 Posts
April 29, 2019 - 10:45 am

Here is some from my pictures of 'owen t' as taken and uploaded on HOS previously. The tree has a sequence of Owen T/myrobalan/Emerald Beaut/Citation, and also numerous grafts from Lon R hybrid apricots. No fruit ever exists on Lon's or the Emerald Beaut but some cropping does occur on the myrobalan plum. (per recent post; I can get set Lon's hybrid when using the method described earlier this month)

OWEN T fruit in July 2017

The bite marks on the bottom right are squirrel related. (very fortunate that wounded plums don't get codling moth Smile)

PS. -not sending PM info, I am timed out at library about finding those links.

Vancouver SW Washington
686 Posts
May 2, 2019 - 12:22 pm

Further to my internal post-3, 2nd paragraph concerning plant variables: botanists hang onto the ways plants transition from juvenile and into adulthood as "plasticity", meaning of course the learning of how to adjust to the environment period. With mounting evidence of how many years this can take (ie ~25 yrs) one might think of it as an "internal evolution".

Apples have been tried in Edmonton as far as grafted from adult scions obtained from store bought cultivars such as the 'jonagolds'. Mostly they die out several years at most. They have ripened a honeycrisp last year due to the priorly unusual and long growing season. However it was only October. The 27 year old break-through store seedling is reported to ripen 4 weeks earlier. 

If I were a yougster I think that is the way I would establsh an orchard (by seed) in adversity (fireblight or otherwise) and let the mechanics that are already in place "evolve".

Just last week upon inspecting my first graft I ever made in my life of about 25 years ago, I found that the yellow cultivar of black-locust 'frisia' that I had grafted had taught the previously green-based roots to turn almost yellow, as evidenced by a recently formed root sucker with the new leaves being golden, an imitation. I suppose the day I chop of the frisia then the rest below would slowly reform back to green again. As the juvenile in my black-locust tree is mostly adult, the definition of "mentoring" does not necessarily follow the same meaning as juvenile "plasticity".

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